Do you need a Part D drug plan?

Part D normally is voluntary, so you don’t have to get it. However, if you later need a Part D plan, annual penalties will be applied to your Part D premiums. Actually, they’re applied to the average national Part D premium, so even if you have a zero premium plan, you’d get socked with a penalty. The penalty is 1 percent a month, and it will be imposed so long as you have a Part D plan.

People who are covered by an employer health plan may be required to get a Part D plan when they turn 65, because employers are required to annually certify that their plan’s drug coverage is at least as good as a typical Part D plan. People who have to get a Part D plan for this reason are not required to get Part A or B of Medicare.